Stay calm, carry on: Student loans and paying for college

Amid the noisy rush of starting college, incoming students are encountering a cautionary voice about their future. Once called the “safest debt” to have, student loans are now the subject of repeated exposés warning students of a disastrous road ahead for their personal finances and, national stability.

Northwestern grads have lower loan debt, more learning options

Evaluating the financial landscape at Northwestern, the Institutional Research Office calculated that UNW graduates left with an average $22,235 of loan debt last spring, nearly $10,000 less than the 2013 average for Minnesota institutions ($31,497) and almost $7,000 less than average loan debt for Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) ($29,075) and national private colleges ($29,400) .

Even with significantly lower debt averages at Northwestern and a competitively low tuition among peers, President Alan S. Cureton offered earnest response to student financial realities in his 2012 Op-ed.:

“We believe that addressing the student loan crisis begins on campus in an environment of transparency that focuses on reducing students’ uncertainty and confusion around taking out loans and gives them a road map to minimize their debt after graduation.”

Last month, students and local leaders spent time with financial voice Rachel Cruze in chapel and a special seminar, talking about loans, costs and realistic payment principles. UNW also offers a net price calculator tool for incoming freshman and transfer students to estimate their eligible aid ahead of time. Alternative education paths like PSEO, Early College for high school students; Degree in Three, online learning and Dual B.A./M.Div. Degree have fast tracked many students to graduation.

As Northwestern graduates enter the job market with degrees in hand, they will find local advantages, according to Georgetown University’s Failure to Launch study and Recovery state report. By 2020, 74% of Minnesota jobs will require postsecondary education, with a national average of 65% . And currently, Minneapolis–St. Paul is the metropolitan area with the highest employment rate for 21 to 30-year-olds at 80% .

Getting Practical

Northwestern alumna and scholarship expert Hannah Rivard ‘12, now a writer for The Defender Foundation, tackled college costs with unconventional zeal, but looking back she offered relatable insight to students just starting to encounter the cost question:

1. Fully investigate and acknowledge the cost and demands of repayment.

“One of the biggest issues I see with students is them simply not acknowledging the reality of how much school must cost. Only with that full knowledge and walking into the situation with their eyes wide open will students be able to be motivated to do what is necessary to reduce college debt.”

Get practical: Calculate your college costs, your current assets, and the gap you will need to fill with work, scholarships or loans using a worksheet like this. Calculating the numbers and seeing the totals will provide accountability and motivation.

2. Make a payment plan ahead of time to prevent financial stress on top of school stress.


“Because I worked so hard at funding college through scholarships, I had no problems with financial issues at Northwestern. I didn't feel pressured to have to work or even take a summer job because college was entirely paid for. This was an incredible blessing to me and one I would encourage students to think about—the advantage of having an attainable way to pay for college in place before they enter school will remove a great deal of stress when you're actually in school.”

Get practical: Write down a list of payment possibilities (jobs, scholarships, contests etc.) that you could act on tomorrow and take this list to your parents or a trusted mentor for accountability and guidance.

3. Balance your ideal with your resources and willingness to work.

“Think of your ideal situation — if money were no object, where would you go and what would you study? —and then make a concerted effort and plan to make that ideal situation happen. If that plan does not appear to be working or attainable after a certain amount of time, then you need to start taking a look at what you are willing to sacrifice so that you can balance the education you want with the affordability you need!”

Get practical: Make sure your payment plan is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound and then take steps as soon as possible to commit to it. Also, commit to evaluating each year/semester with parents or mentors to stay on track during college.

Get the details on scholarships, financial aid and cost at Northwestern.

Concerto-Aria Competition Winners Announced

The Department of Music is proud to announce Emily Baltzer and Anthony Potts as winners of the 2013-14 Concerto-Aria Competition. They were among the 12 contestants that participated in the annual event held Saturday, February 1, 2014, in Nazareth Chapel.

Emily Baltzer, piano, won the Concerto division with her performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18, accompanied by Richard Lange, piano. Emily, a senior at University of Northwestern – St. Paul, studies piano with Dr. Richard Lange and is pursuing a Music Performance degree.

Anthony Potts, won the Aria division with his performance of Mozart’s “Bravo, signor padrone…Se vuol ballare” from Le nozze di Figaro. Tony, a junior at Northwestern, studies voice with Carol Eikum and is pursuing a Music Performance degree.

The results of the competition were announced during a reception that followed in the Blue Room. Lauren Anderson, clarinet, and Rachel Bauske, flute, were recognized with Honorable Mention for their Concerto performances, and Brandyn Tapio, tenor, received Honorable Mention for his Aria performance. Guest adjudicators for this event were Dr. Henry Charles Smith (international conductor, Grammy-winning and orchestral trombonist), Dr. Christopher Wallace (pianist, organist, chamber musician, church music director), and Dr. Wendy Zaro-Mullins (opera, musical and concert vocalist, associate professor at University of Minnesota).

Emily Baltzer and Anthony Potts will perform as featured guest artists with the University of Northwestern Orchestra, under the direction of David Kozamchak, on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in Maranatha Hall, on the campus of University of Northwestern – St. Paul.

UNW receives top rankings from U.S. News, Twin Cities Business

With a new year and a new name, the University of Northwestern has taken its place at the top of recognized higher education lists.  Northwestern has the second highest growth rate among top Minnesota institutions (Twin Cities Business), while average GPA and graduation rates remain competitive and tuition is comparatively low among peers.

UNW ranked #13 Regional College Midwest
U.S. News, College Ranking lists

Northwestern ranked 13th among 70+ schools based on data gathered nationally by U.S. News for 2014 College Ranking lists. After dividing schools into categories based on mission and location, rankings were determined by a composite score based on 16 weighted indicators related to academic excellence.


UNW ranked in Top 25 Colleges and Universities 
Twin Cities Business Magazine, 2014 Black Book Business Lists

Measured alongside institutions like St. Thomas, the University of Minnesota, Hamline and Bethel University, UNW had the second highest student growth rate. Among six institutions with positive growth, UNW had the second highest graduation rate (6 year), and the second highest average GPA (3.23).


UNW ranked #3 on Top 10 Online Christian Colleges & Universities of 2014

We offer PSEO and early college, graduate and undergraduate degrees online, as well as 50 available individual courses in Bible and the liberal arts, serving 1,186 students last year.

“With solid student satisfaction and instructional quality indicators, affordable tuition, and a high percentage of students receiving financial aid, Northwestern deserves to be considered one of the best places to go for an online Christian degree.”

Prof. Kent Kaiser interviews on the American family

Joining Dr. Mitch Pearlstein, professor Kent Kaiser interviewed with Broken Road Radio on Tuesday, January 21 to discuss Pearlstein's book From Family Collapse to America's Decline, which examines the relationship between government and family in America.  Listen online

Pearlstein is president, and Kaiser a senior fellow at the Center of the American Experiment, "a nonpartisan, tax-exempt, public policy and educational institution that brings conservative and free market ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing Minnesota and the nation."


Board approves athletic facilities, construction to begin

Spring will mark the awaited groundbreaking for new athletic facilities on Northwestern's campus, with the university's board of trustees' recent approval of a $10.7 million construction project. Completion is anticipated for fall 2014, accommodating football, soccer, baseball and softball teams with new, artificial turf fields, and welcoming UNW tennis teams back on campus with six regulation size courts. In addition to the new fields and courts, the complex will feature updated bleacher seating for nearly 1,500 fans, locker rooms for 192 student athletes, and a spirit plaza with restroom and concessions facilities. Funds for the project have been raised through the successful Soar Campaign.

"Moving forward with these improvements for the athletic facilities expands our varsity student athletics and student recreation programs, a necessary development in order to grow and maintain a competitive standard locally and regionally," said Alan Cureton, Ph.D., University of Northwestern president. "It will clearly have a positive impact on our student body and incoming students as we anticipate adding JV teams, launching new varsity programs, and increasing the roster for many of the varsity sports."

Throughout the last decade Northwestern has repurposed multiple athletic venues for academic and community growth, pushing several Eagles teams off-campus for practice and students involved in outdoor campus recreation to city-owned parks. These students will return to campus, as will summer camp attendees and outside community groups.

"This is an exciting time in Northwestern's history," said Matt Hill, Ed.D., vice president for student life and athletics. "The versatility in the design of these four excellent venues benefits our student athletes, the general student body, physical education majors and the surrounding community by providing a well-rounded student experience."

While incoming students will start their athletic careers in new facilities, staff and current students are looking forward to the transition.

"In addition to a new surface and stadium for our team's game day experience, we'll be fortunate to not wear down our baseball team's outfield for practice, and the artificial turf won't allow rain and other weather elements to be a factor in how we prepare for Saturdays," said head football coach Kirk Talley. "The larger locker rooms for student athletes will allow for more interaction among teammates."

Northwestern has contracted with PCL Construction, Inc. for the project. In the Twin Cities metro area, PCL is most recently known for its work on the University of Minnesota's $7.2 million Siebert Field baseball complex, finished in April 2013.

UNW is #3 on Top Online Christian Colleges & Universities list has named UNW third on their Top 10 Online Christian Colleges & Universities list, which features "accredited, high-quality institutions with a serious commitment to their student’s spiritual and academic growth." 

View UNW's listing and ratings online!

Northwestern volleyball team scores a win for Miracles of Mitch Foundation, October 31, 2013
By Greg Johnson

The University of Northwestern may have lost its battle against the University of St. Thomas on the volleyball court on Wednesday night, but the Eagles, and more importantly, the Minnesota-based Miracles of Mitch Foundation, scored a big win at "Purple for Gold" night in the Ericksen Center.

Over $2,000 was raised through a silent auction coordinated by the Northwestern varsity and junior varsity squads. Each player was asked to donate goods or services to the auction while numerous local businesses also provided the same opportunity to have their products bid on by those who attended the match that featured both teams wearing the color purple. Some volleyball players donated time raking leaves or babysitting, while others offered movie night gift baskets, tae kwon do lessons and tickets to an upcoming Minnesota Wild game. One student-athlete even went as far as to put a coffee date with herself on the table. In all, 65 items were up for bid as part of the silent auction...

Miracles of Mitch Night - Photo Gallery

Read the rest of the story

President Cureton receives 2013 Sterling College Alumni Award

Nominated for his many accomplishments and contributions to his Alma Mater, Dr. Alan Cureton was awarded the 2013 Sterling College Alumni Award at the homecoming alumni banquet on Saturday, Oct. 19. Cureton is currently the president of University of Northwestern – St. Paul.

“It was an honor to recognize Dr. Cureton with the Alumni Award. He has a lifelong commitment to personal enrichment and has worked to provide opportunities for others to attain higher education. He has a love and devotion to Christ and His Word, and has embodied a servant leader through the many ways he has served God at Sterling College as an employee, Trustee, and parent of SC students. Dr. Cureton exemplifies the Sterling College mission of developing creative and thoughtful leaders who understand a maturing Christian faith, and we are proud to have him as an alumnus of our College” said Scott Rich, president of Sterling College.

Read the full release from Sterling College

UNW students awarded GIlman, Fulbright funding to go abroad

After 10 years of Fulbright winners, Gilman scholarship recipients Britany Dumas-Jones '15, Kou Thao '14 and Maly Lee '15 have contributed to a new legacy at Northwestern.  Dumas-Jones is studying Chinese and history in Hong Kong for the semester, and Thao and Lee left last week on a tri-country tour of Asia on an internship with 11 other UNW students.

“I was almost 100 percent sure I wasn’t going to get the scholarship, because it’s pretty competitive," said Thao, intercultural studies major, "They get thousands and thousands of applicants.”

A friend of Thao's, Lee shared her surprise with him after they received the news this summer.

"When I saw the email, I was in shock because I wasn’t expecting it. But it was more this presence of awe of God's work."

Prior to applying for the Gilman, Lee had just added an international studies minor, whetting her appetite to experience the overseas internship offered by the program each year.  This year students will spend a two weeks in China, then a month in Thailand and finally another two weeks in South East Asia.  After years of wanting to be in China, for Thao, the alignment of the Gilman and this year's internship was undeniable.

Upon their return, Dumas-Jones, Thao and Lee will complete a service project to share their experience, inform other students about the Gilman scholarship and encourage study abroad opportunities. Thao planned a dinner of local food from the nations he experienced abroad, with topical discussions at each table.

"I wanted to do it in a very casual way where students would be able to ask questions freely and just be comfortable, " said Thao.

The Gilman International Scholarship Program was established under the International Opportunity Act of 2000 and is funded by Congress, providing opportunities for studying abroad to minority or non-traditional students and students with disabilities. Eligibility is limited to US citizens who receive Pell Grants for their education, and recipients may study abroad for a partial or whole semester, with grants up to $5000, and up to $8000 for studying a critical need language.

While Thao, Lee and Dumas-Jones experience South East Asia this fall, UNW's 2013 Fulbright recipient Anastasia Pederson is completing a yearlong teaching assitantship in Slovakia.

Follow the ICS 2013 blog for live updates from South East Asia

Professor Juan Ramirez featured in Minnesota Business Magazine

Market acceso: How Grupo Avance found a niche in helping local companies tap markets south of the border
Minnesota Business Magazine, October Issue
By Caitlin Hill

After moving from Mexico to the United States, Juan Ramirez received an MBA from the University of Minnesota and spent part of his career working in corporate America, including stints at IBM and General Electric. But an entrepreneur by nature, he eventually began to ponder other paths.

“I started looking at different potential opportunities [to start new companies] and didn’t realize it was staring me right in the face,” Ramirez says. “Someone told me to look at the trends, and I realized that the trend was that emerging markets were growing in Latin America, and in the United States within the Hispanic markets.”

In 2003, he leveraged his experience and cultural knowledge to launch a consulting firm that helps companies expand business in the Mexican, Latin American, and U.S. Hispanic markets. Called Grupo Avance, today the Minneapolis firm includes a handful of executive consultants who on average have 15 to 20 years of international business experience.



Ceramist Joanna Buyert '07 featured in Country Living Magazine

Making a Living: How one artist molded her passion for pottery into a thriving business

Country Living Magazine, October Issue

Joanna Buyert '07 graduated from Northwestern with a degree in Fine Arts, and has been highlighted by Country Living Magazine for her ceramics line, Fringe and Fettle

Buyert was also featured in the Star Tribune last year.

Fox 9 interviews Prof. Kent Kaiser about "phubbing" phenomenon

from Fox9 News

What is 'phubbing'? Don't look it up on your phone

posted by Shelby Capacio
video report by Rob Olson

"Phubbing" is an emerging tech term is emerging -- and anyone who grabbed a smartphone to look it up during a conversation with someone else is guilty of it.

Even 2-year-old Izzy, a mutt who loves treats, clearly hates it when her human is more interested in her smartphone.

"If I have my phone out when we're in bed or anything, she'll kind of paw at the phone saying, 'Get rid of the phone! Pet me instead!" Kelsey Stricker said. "I feel bad saying it, but yes, I do snub my dog for my phone."

That's where the word phubbing comes along. It's not in any dictionary and it sounds awkward when you ask about it, but most people have been phubbed. That's why an Australian who is tired of the relentless, often remorseless, ignoring of others in favor of a phone has started an online campaign to stop phubbing.

"If phubbing were a plague, it would decimate six Chinas," the campaign explains.

FOX 9 showed the site to communications professor Kent Kaiser, who embarked on a 2,000-tweet campaign last year about dining etiquette.

"I did cover smartphone use while dining," he said. "My advice was to leave the phone in the car entirely."

All students in his department are required to take an etiquette class in order to prepare the screen-fixated students to be respectful employees.

"If you pulled out the newspaper while you were at dinner, what would people think?" Kaiser asked. "They'd go crazy, and that's what you're doing when you pull out Twitter."

Kimberly Koehler is a dating coach, and she told FOX 9 News some of her clients have ruined dates with incessant texting, tweeting and posting -- often about the very date they're on.

"I think we're starting to not be as present in life," she said.

Koehler said even first dates can't escape a phubbing, and there are now Facebook pages -- ironically -- dedicated to showing just how offensive and pervasive phubbing has become.

"What I always recommend people to do when they sit down at a table with someone for the first time is literally pick up their phone and say, 'Excuse me for a moment. I'm going to go ahead and turn off my phone," Koehler explained.

Often, people phub one another all at once. Sometimes no one cares , but sometimes, everyone is just mutually rude.

Coach Talley talks football with WCCO Radio

Coach Kirk Talley interviewed with Mike Max on WCCO radio's Sports to the Max about the upcoming season. Cue into the podcast online at 20:15 to hear his portion of the interview.

Music ministry major Shayla Woods releases album

from The Royal Gazette

Singing for His glorification

By Crystal Holdipp

Gospel Psalmist Shayla Woods has recently released her new single “Dwell In Me”.

The singer has a heart to usher people into the presence of God and wants her latest song to speak to the heart of the listener and give them a refreshing in their souls.

Ms Woods has ministered with many praise teams and groups such as “The Joshua Generation”, “United Tehilla Ministries”, “Judah Praise” and “Perfected Praise”.

She is also a lead worshipper at New Creation Worship Center.

Doors have opened that has allowed her to minister all across Bermuda, Florida and Minnesota.

Ms Woods has earned her Associates Degree of Music Performance from McNally Smith College of Music in Minnesota and is attaining a Bachelors in music ministry with a minor in child and family studies at the University of Northwestern... Read the full story

UNW's Kari Steinbach directs "La Bella Cinderella" at Fringe Festival

from White Bear Press

Local playwright’s adaptation of Cinderella at Fringe Festival

by Kristine Goodrich/Editor

A week after it premiered in Maryland, White Bear Lake playwright Claudia Haas’ award-winning Cinderella adaptation is part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

“La Bella Cinderella” is an interactive play for younger children loosely based on the opera “La Cenerentola” (an Italian version of the Cinderella fairy tale). In Haas’ version, Cenerentola is a temperamental young woman, the villain is a clown and the prince is a servant in disguise. Audience members are invited on stage to help clean for the ball, make headdresses for the step-sisters and save Cenerentola and her prince from a wild boar.

Directing the Fringe Festival production of “La Bella Cinderella” is Shoreview resident Kari Steinbach, an area director, actress and teacher. The two have never worked together but Haas said she “trusts her implicitly.” They’ve known each other for a few years, after Haas admired Steinbach’s performance in a Lakeshore Players production and Steinbach invited Haas as a guest speaker at one of her theater classes at the University of Northwestern. ...more


Alumn John Isakson enters Rapid City police force

Rapid City Journal

Officer John Isakson from Harrisburg graduated from Blair High School in Blair, Neb. Isakson attended Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn., earning his bachelor's degree in psychology. He was a teacher and counselor at the STAR Academy in Custer... Read the rest of the story


Launching Pad

Meet the Class of 2013

PILOT Spring 2013

Chase Donahue

Major: Public Relations Hometown: Pine Island, Minn. Most important thing you learned at Northwestern? The importance of recognizing how God has gifted you and using that to the best of your ability. We are all equipped to change the world; it’s time that we do. Plans after graduation? Strategic Planner at Fallon Advertising. How have you changed in your time here? My overall transition into adulthood and being a man. Northwestern has prepared me to: (In the words of Robert Lewis), reject passivity; accept responsibility; lead courageously; expect the greater reward. Advice to current juniors: Dream big. Be passionate. Jump into your endeavors wholeheartedly. People inherently want to help people—ask questions, be curious. Make every experience an adventure.

Bernice Fernandes

Major: Finance Hometown: Born in Kenya; raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Most important thing you learned while at Northwestern? To completely look to Christ to satisfy me. I will not take for granted the Christian community, chapel, prayer tower, intentionality, accountability, Bible classes, Christian worldview, etc. Plans after graduation? To get a job and seek a master’s degree. How have you changed in your time here? I have become a confident woman of God and have a better view of my self-worth. I have learned what it is like to be a servant leader and I continue to strive to do that every day of my life. Northwestern has prepared me to: Be more intentional, use time management and leadership skills and be more spiritually competent. Advice to current juniors: Give your senior year one hundred percent! This is your last chance. Leave a legacy. Mentor and serve younger students. Above all, strive to reflect Christ in all you do.

Zach Fredman

Major: Biology Hometown: Litchfield, Minn. Most important thing you learned while at Northwestern? How to build deeper friendships—rooted in the Gospel and focused toward Jesus through good and difficult times. Plans after graduation? Medical school. How have you changed in your time here? I’ve gained a better understanding of the Gospel. Northwestern has prepared me to: I have learned the biology and chemistry of the human body to prepare me for medical school; I have also learned a lot about the Bible to be able to bring others to know Jesus. Advice to current juniors: Enjoy your last year at NWC growing spiritually, relationally and intellectually.

Lauren Wineinger

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies: Electronic Communication Hometown: Hartland, Wis. Most important thing you learned while at Northwestern? To lean on God in everything. Plans after graduation? I’ll be pursuing a job that requires both marketing skills and technology savvy. How have you changed in your time here? I have a better understanding of and confidence in my identity in Christ. I’ve also developed a greater appreciation of others’ unique gifts and talents. Northwestern has prepared me to: Be successful in the workplace, live with a biblical worldview and persevere. Advice to current juniors: Get work experience (and establish contacts) through internships!

Isaac Schultz

Major: Marketing  Hometown: Upsala, Minn. Most important thing you learned while at Northwestern? Being involved in community as servant leaders for Christ. Plans after graduation? I will work as an auctioneer and sales agent of Ameribid LLC, a national real estate auction company. How have you changed in your time here? I have further developed my purpose for life in being a servant leader for Christ in everything I do. My understanding of that purpose directly affects the way I am able to represent Christ. Northwestern has prepared me to: Lead. I have a strong calling to lead. God has granted me many opportunities to this point and Northwestern has given me both the practical skills and needed experience to be effective in leadership after graduation. Best advice to current juniors: In the words of Prof. Middleton, “Dare to be Distinguished” in everything you do.

David Maxwell

Major: Biology Hometown: Country of Togo; raised in France  Most important thing you learned while at Northwestern? To push myself to grow and ameliorate not only in my walk with God, but in anything I partake in. To never be satisfied with being average. Plans after graduation? MBA & Ph.D. in Biology. How have you changed in your time here? I developed life lasting relationships and now understand the importance of a Christian community. Northwestern has prepared me to: Share my faith in secular environments and to be over-analytical to not be blindly misguided. Advice to current juniors: Take advantage of the professor's connections.

Heidi Anderson '13 nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year

WCF Courier and

Anderson candidate for NCAA Woman of the Year

Former Walnut Ridge (Waterloo Christian) standout Heidi Anderson of the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn., has been chosen as the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference’s nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.

Anderson, who graduated in the spring, was a three-time all-conference performer on the soccer pitch and was the league’s Co-Defender of the Year in 2012. In the classroom, she was academic all-conference all four years and compiled a 3.97 grade-point average.

In addition, Anderson has been heavily involved in campus and community service... Read full story

An Interdisciplinary Quest

Seeing God in metaphysics

PILOT Spring 2013
By Shelly Barsuhn

Professor of Philosophy Walter Schultz, Ph.D., and Professor of Biology Lisanne Winslow, Ph.D., were deep in discussion, creating a sprawling and complex diagram on the whiteboard

. “Theology, ontology, divine compositionalism…” The terms were clues to a groundbreaking research project that they conducted partially inside the classroom this spring when they taught a course called “Metaphysics, An Interdisciplinary Quest for a Christian Understanding of Mechanisms in Science.” How did these scholars from separate disciplines find their fields intersecting in this rare and wonderful way? And what made this class unlike any before it?

Although Winslow and Schultz both officed in Nazareth Hall, their paths seldom crossed. One day in April 2012, they were making copies in the office center. Small talk led to a conversation about the book Schultz was writing, God Acts: The Dynamic Underlying Reality, and his need for a biologist to help write one crucial chapter. Winslow’s enthusiasm confirmed that they should meet and talk in more depth.

That first meeting was electric with intellectual energy. Both viewed their scholarly work as an expression of love for the redeeming God of the Bible and both were fascinated by the opportunity to conduct research joining their areas of academic expertise. They chose one very specific and complicated mechanism in biology to study—protein synthesis (how human bodies make protein)—and determined to try and understand every piece of it and the powers that drive the molecules.

“There’s this whole world of nature that scientists explain without God,” said Winslow. “Walter and I approached thenatural world from biblically grounded faith, asking, ‘Where is God in the actual molecular world?’” This question placed them inside a very new field of study, Christian philosophy of biology, also called the philosophy of scientific mechanisms. It was so new, in fact, that no scholarly papers in this area had been presented yet. They decided to be the first. The term they proposed to describe this activity in the universe: divine compositionalism. 

During one meeting they thought, “Why not conduct the research and let students observe and help inside of a course?” They proposed the interdisciplinary class to Janet Sommers, Ph.D., senior vice president for Academic Affairs, received approval and developed the course over three months of intensive planning.

“We had a syllabus,” said Winslow, “but we really didn’t know how it was going to go. It depended on discussions in class. How would students perceive and understand with their brilliant minds?” Scholars have biases, but students would have no agenda, just inquisitive minds. 

In the classroom, the professors’ different teaching styles came together in a unique synthesis. They began with deep theology and philosophy, then offered foundations of scientific mechanism and finally brought the parts together.

Students learned how to analyze a scientific mechanism theologically and philosophically.

They participated in interactive group work, with each of five groups having a little piece of the protein synthesis mechanism to analyze. Finally, they wrote a critical paper on a scientific mechanism from a theistic worldview. Schultz said, “The class was designed like a graduate-level course.We pushed students way beyond traditional undergraduate expectations.”

Their diverse group of students—philosophy majors, biology majors and others—rose to the challenge. 

“The facial expressions have been really great,” said Schultz, smiling.

“… and the e-mails,” added Winslow. 

Students did strong, integrative work and even requested a voluntary online forum to discuss their research. Neither professor had ever seen this intense desire to continue conversations outside of class. “It was the first time in my life that I wished the course were a semester long instead of a half semester,” said Schultz.

Biology major Jennifer Terhark, ’14, valued the class because “it wasn’t just about introducing us to materials. It was about a project. We were working toward a goal—proving the professors’ thesis. I never really thought about how philosophy relates to scientific mechanism and how it all relates to God.”

While satisfying a philosophy or biology requirement, “Metaphysics” gave students a taste of what it means to do Christian scholarship in a field outside of theology. Students came to understand in a whole new way how God acts, and in the process helped enhance their professors’ research.

Schultz and Winslow have written two papers on divine compositionalism. They presented the first in late May for the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences at Bethel University. They also traveled to Harvard University in early May to present at the International Conference on Occasionalism.

Did God create the world and bow out or is God intimately involved in even the movement of molecules? Through biblical scholarship, logic and science, Schultz and Winslow are seeking to show that the universe is a dynamic composite process and that the fundamental truth of Scripture is that God is sustaining and guiding creation.


Preparing for a Life of Service

Nursing program focuses on servanthood

PILOT Spring 2013
By Ben Bradbury '09

Northwestern’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program officially launched in May and has all the impressive features of a world-class academic program.

Take, for example, the credentials of the department chair, Ginger Wolgemuth: an R.N. with a Ph.D., Wolgemuth has experience teaching and writing curricula at several Christian colleges.

Janet Sommers, Ph.D., affirms Wolgemuth as the right person for the job. “Dr. Wolgemuth is a strong leader, characterized by vision, perseverance and fortitude,” said Sommers, senior vice president for academic affairs.

New state-of-the-art nursing facilities include a classroom with floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, an eight-bed clinic lab and more—all the equipment students will need to practice their chosen profession, including life-sized, computerized mannequins that mimic the medical conditions of patients.

“This guy can talk, sweat, cry,[and his] pupils dilate,” Wolgemuth explained about one of the department’s dolls. “You can take pulses all the way down to his toes!”

Additionally, the program is taught on an accelerated track to help students save money and enter their careers faster. Students who meet the prerequisites can complete the coursework in just 16 months, attending class yearround from one summer through the next.

More than credentials and facilities

But for Wolgemuth, the most important aspect of Northwestern’s nursing program is the biblically based curriculum. “It’s all about service and servanthood,” she said. She is passionate about the curriculum, in part, because its creation was a profound, spiritual experience for her.

The curriculum plan “came” to Wolgemuth last summer. Having attempted to write the plan to no avail throughout the week, she left her office one Friday feeling discouraged. When she got home she began reading her Bible but her frustration only increased.

Studying a passage about Christ’s resurrection, Wolgemuth recalled with candor, “I was a little cocky, and I said, ‘Well, this is great, Lord, but this is not helping me with the curriculum.’

“Instantaneously, the entire curriculum came into my mind like a download ... the next thought I had was the Lord saying to me, ‘You don’t think I have the power to help you in this?’’’

Wolgemuth wrote furiously until 2 a.m. After sleeping only a few hours, she woke up and began writing again. By 1 a.m. Monday, the curriculum road map was complete.

Essential questions

The nursing curriculum asks and answers nine questions, two of which are of particular prominence to Wolgemuth:

  • With whom do we serve?
  • To whom are we accountable when we serve?

The answers to these questions reveal what makes the program distinctive.

First, as they develop as nursing professionals, students will serve with interprofessional health-care teams made up of Christians in the medical field—doctors, physical therapists, chaplains and others—who will meet regularly with students to discuss their professions. The answer to the second question is even more pivotal. In addition to instilling the importance of accountability to patients, the curriculum points clearly to the future nurses’ ultimate accountability to Jesus Christ.

“We want the students to understand that it’s what they do in their spiritual lives that’s going to drive what they do professionally, and not vice versa,” Wolgemuth passionately explained.

“Nursing as a whole is not a calling—it’s a profession. But when God calls, it transforms our lives, and in transforming our lives, we can be His hands and feet to minister to others.” 

Sommers is pleased with how the program has come together, but not surprised. “From the very beginning of this process, we committed Northwestern’s BSN program to the Lord,” Sommers said, “and we have continually gone before His throne, asking Him to intercede and bless the development of our program. He has been overwhelmingly faithful!"

University Tweet Chat with President Cureton

University Tweet Chat with President Cureton

After announcing our new name, University of Northwestern – St. Paul, we held a Tweet Chat on May 9, 2013 to talk about becoming a university! We’ve created this summary of the chat, arranged by topic so you can easily jump to the answers you’re looking for.

Dr. Alan Cureton @prezcure (President)

Drew Shepp @drewshepp (Assoc. Director, Campus Ministries)
Emily Herman @emilyrherman (Asst. Director, Alumni & Parent Relations)

Read our Tweet Chat recap if you missed the chat, or have questions about Northwestern's new name and what it means for you.

A few questions  from the #AskPrezCure chat: 
Why University of Northwestern – St. Paul?
What will the school's new abbreviation be? 
How does the name change affect alumni? 
What about resumes and diplomas?


Northwestern College senior Anastasia Pederson awarded Fulbright Scholarship

Northwestern College senior Anastasia Pederson awarded Fulbright Scholarship

Northwestern senior Anastasia Pederson '13 accepted the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Scholarship in April, appointment to teach high school students in Levice, Slovakia. The tenth awardee in Northwestern's Fulbright legacy, Pederson crowns a decade of excellence overseas.

U.S. Fulbright scholars represent the nation's largest international exchange program, sponsored by the Department of State. The ETA program is a natural next step for Pederson, who will graduate in May with a B.A. in ESL Education and an Intercultural Studies (ICS) minor, then begin her assistantship in Slovakia on August 24. Pederson remembers a 2010 tour abroad with Northwestern's ICS program as a catalyst for international interest and her Fulbright pursuit.

"It was a desire for the unknown," said Pederson, "Eastern Europe is an area of the world I don't know a lot about, and so it was kind of for my own desire to learn and to experience a new way of life."

Beyond personal enjoyment, Pederson sees purpose in using linguistics to make meaningful cross-cultural connections. She referred to wisdom from her professor, Dr. Feng Ling Johnson, who taught how the language failure leads to loss of identity:

"If you're not able to communicate in a language when you're surrounded by a different language, you lose yourself in a way," explained Pederson, "So how do you cross those cultural barriers of language to help people find their identity again and be able to express themselves so that they're heard and that they're seen and that they're known."

Pederson saw the lasting effect of saying hello to her ESL students in their native language, and taking time to ask about their lives as she student taught this spring at a Twin Cities high school. Even with her experience, Pederson recognizes the new challenge of teaching in Slovakia.

"Teaching is always a humbling experience," she said, "You realize there's always a huge learning curve, just trying to remember you're never going to be a perfect teacher, but aiming to be a perfect teacher."

Pederson, 21, is from Buffalo, MN and will be spending a month in Norway with relatives prior to her appointment in Slovakia. Northwestern's 2012 Fulbright Scholar, Charissa Doebler '12 , is just finishing her appointment in Taiwan and has documented her journey on her blog, A Sojourner's Saga.


Northwestern College presents 7th annual Five16 Film Festival

Northwestern College will roll out its red carpet for the seventh year this spring, showcasing student films at the Five16 Film Festival on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7 p.m. in Maranatha Hall. After festival-goers enjoy a selection of comedy, drama, music video, documentary and animation film submissions, a panel of Northwestern faculty, alumni and film professionals from around the country will announce the winner for each category.

"This is a great opportunity for students to produce creative and engaging videos and receive feedback from professionals in the industry," said Ann Sorenson, MFA, associate professor of communication and festival director. "As the festival grows, so does the level of quality and professionalism in the films that the students are producing."

Last year, the Five16 drew an audience of 950 and received rave reviews from attendees. Named in homage to Matthew 5:16, the festival awards films for storytelling and production, as well as the portrayal of Christian values:

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

When Sorenson came to the film department in 2007, she had a vision to build the program and empower students to tell their best stories with what she calls the "everything art."

While a successful film festival is one goal fulfilled, Sorenson took another stride in January when she brought Northwestern students to the Sundance Festival for the first time for a week of industry exposure in Park City, Utah where the team of seven blogged their experiences live.

Laticia Mattson '15, film major and Sundance attendee, is just one reflection of the creativity Sorenson and other film faculty have endeavored to cultivate in their program:

"I've always had a passion for storytelling and entertaining others through filmmaking." she said, "It's cool to have an idea and make it come to life on the screen, whether it's a short film or a feature-length. I really enjoy my major and I can't imagine doing anything else."

Speechless no more: NWC team revives and thrives

Speechless no more: NWC team revives and thrives

 Until last fall, Northwestern's student body, full of canny communicators, had no representing speech teama speechless status junior Adam Saxton ’14 found unacceptable.  Saxton, an International Relations major, joined Professor John Arehart to captain a team of 15 students for Northwestern’s first year back in competitive speech and debate.

“We went from having no team on campus last year, to having over a dozen people involved, competing at multiple tournaments in several categories and placing in several of them,” said Saxton, “God has blessed our team with a rapid development that usually takes years of experience to acquire.”

The team competed in eight tournaments, nearly sweeping the Impromptu category at the final Twin Cities Forensics League tournament in February, ending their season victorious. Saxton placed first and teammates Rachel Temp ‘and Benjamin Fernandes ’14 tied for third place; Danielle Jack placed fifth.

Fernandes remembers heading into that last competition with waning confidence, feeling unprepared.

"I met professor Arehart, and practiced with him, I was quite saddened and disappointed with myself as I felt as if I hadn’t prepared enough ...Coach gave me a short pep talk, and it really got to me. At this point I had an hour till we departed for the speech meet. I went to my room, turned off my cellphone and everything, and found a mirror. I practiced impromptu speaking for an entire hour, just the mirror and myself. I prayed and asked God for wisdom and insight, once I got done. I went to the Shuttle van that was taking us to the speech meet and didn’t tell anyone what I had just done."

At the competition, Fernandes gained confidence with each round and found himself looking at his name on the list of finalists for the Impromptu category.

"I was in awe of what God had done, as I knew for sure that I couldn’t have done any of that on my own. I looked up and said a short prayer. I glanced across and saw my coach with a big smile on his face as four impromptu speakers in the finals were from Northwestern College. Coach came up to us and gave us a big hug...I thanked God and realized that the talents that we have are a gift from God, what we make of our talents is our gifts back to God."

Though there are no more tournaments this season, the team has one more performance left. Today they’ll deliver their winning speeches for President Cureton, who invited the team in an act of recognition and celebration of their unprecedented first year. 

Coach Arehart expressed joy over the team's accomplishments: "Winners of [the TCFL]  tournament consistently vie for national championships, so we are extremely proud of our team's performance and look forward to a great season next year.”

The team will continue under leadership of co-captains Rachel Temp and Charity Hayden in the fall while Saxton studies in Washington D.C. for the semester.  Though absent from competition, the thrill and skill of debate has its permanence with Saxton.

“Competitive speech and debate impacts every aspect of my life. From writing arguments in academic papers, formulating presentations, to engaging other people in daily conversations, speech and debate did more to change my mindset than almost any other activity.”

In the spring Saxton plans on rejoining the team, envisioning a “more structured approach” after a year of learning the basics of competing.  One of the team’s goals is to attend the Christian College Nationals, a large highly competitive tournament attended by numerous colleges and universities across the nation.  Beyond competing, Saxton, Fernandes and other team members acknowledged they became a family, sharing Christ as a common thread.

“Speech at Northwestern is different because of the centrality of Christ," Saxton said, "We strive to make sure that not only the way we are speaking is pleasing to God, but also what we say.”


Laurie Bolthouse talks trafficking

Lights, camera, and most importantly—ACTION!

Laurie (LeGree’89) Bolthouse was on campus on March 5 to speak in chapel and participate in a special screening of Trade of Innocents, the feature film she co-produced with her husband.

We connected with Laurie to learn more about what it takes to produce a feature film and learn about practical and positive actions students—and others—can take to combat human trafficking. WATCH VIDEO



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